Is Community Management Difficult? Challenges, Tools, and The Future of Community Management

The digital era has transformed the way individuals and organizations interact. Central to this transformation is the role of community managers.
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What you'll learn in this article:

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The digital era has transformed the way individuals and organizations interact. Central to this transformation is the role of community managers.

Is community management difficult? It can be challenging as they don’t just manage communities; they are the architects of relationships, the maestros of engagement, and the custodians of brand image.

What we'll learn together:

  • Community management can be tough however, it can be a little easier with the help of technology, artificial intelligence, and community platforms.
  • Exploring what could be the future of community management, the multi-faceted role of a community manager, their challenges with solutions, and the differences between a social media manager and to community manager.
  • Platforms like Disco offer essential tools for community management, including access controls and diverse communication channels, which help in organizational efficiency and empowering community growth.

Is Community Management Difficult?

Indeed, community management can be a tough gig and it's certainly not a job for the faint-hearted. The role is multifaceted, requiring one to take on various responsibilities such as project management, content creation, crisis mediation, brand representation, customer advocacy, and much more.

However, due to the rapid technological advancement, community management can be a little easier than it seems. Emerging technologies like Artificial Intelligence, data analytics, and virtual reality (VR) are revolutionizing the way community managers engage with their audiences and manage communities.

The Future of Community Management

Community managers are required to stay abreast of these evolving technologies and platforms to effectively engage with their audiences. AI, in particular, is set to revolutionize community management with features like enhanced customer support and automated administrative duties. Despite these automated advancements, the human touch in community management remains irreplaceable, with community managers continuing to play a vital role in building relationships and maintaining human interactions in online communities.

One of the modern community platforms that offers intensive automation and artificial intelligence (AI) as a feature is Disco. Currently, the Disco platform can do 3 major automation for community managers:

AI-powered automation

This is a game-changer for community managers, providing them with the ability to streamline their tasks and increase productivity. This feature allows for the automation of repetitive tasks, freeing up time for community managers to focus on more strategic initiatives. It's like having an extra pair of hands, making community management more efficient.

AI co-pilot

Serves as a reliable assistant to community managers. It offers predictive suggestions and insights, helping managers make data-driven decisions. This co-pilot can assist with tasks such as content curation, engagement tracking, and even crisis mediation, making it an invaluable tool for effective community management.

AI-generated texts and images

Disco's AI-generated texts and images feature is a powerful tool for community managers to create engaging content. The AI can generate creative and compelling texts, enhancing communication within the community. Additionally, it can also generate images, providing visually appealing content that can boost engagement and interaction within the community.

The Multifaceted Role of a Community Manager

A community manager, especially a great community manager, is entrusted with the thriving of the community and is the face of the organization. The role extends beyond simple tasks and delves into strategic responsibilities.

A team of community managers collaborating and brainstorming problem-solving strategies

These include curating and posting engaging content on social media platforms, maintaining high engagement levels within the community, aligning the community's objectives with the company's mission, managing both favorable and unfavorable media coverage, and ensuring that the company's public image and brand perception remain positive.

In addition, a community manager is also responsible for creating a welcoming environment that promotes interaction, learning, and business growth. They need to understand their community's needs and interests deeply, create strategies to improve engagement and use analytics to measure the success of their efforts. They also play a crucial role in crisis management, handling conflicts, and negative feedback with empathy and professionalism.

In essence, a community manager acts as a bridge between the organization and its audience, fostering two-way engagement—a key element of an effective marketing strategy.

Common Challenges of Community Managers (with Solutions)

Despite the rewards, community management comes with its share of challenges, making community management difficult at times. Sub-optimal budgets, high expectations, and lack of buy-in from the company are some of the hurdles community managers often face.

Building and Sustaining an Engaged Community

Building and sustaining an engaged community is an art form, that requires innovative content that resonates with the community members. It’s not just about increasing numbers, it’s about empowering members, creating a sense of belonging, and ensuring they see themselves as contributors to the community’s growth. When these elements come together, a community thrives. Maintaining community harmony and organization greatly depends on established community guidelines.

Solution: Learn deeper about how to build, manage, and sustain a modern community with our FREE Learning Community Playbook. Download and get access to community flywheel, the learning community blueprint, the pyramid of community engagement, and many more!

Budgeting and Resource Allocation

Budget constraints can be a significant hurdle for community managers. However, by starting small and proving the value of software and resources to upper management, community managers can gradually secure the necessary funding for their initiatives.

Solution: Consider using community software that offers free trials or basic plans at no cost. For instance, platforms like Teachable offer services starting at $0 per month. However, bear in mind the 0-10% transaction fees, which can add up as your community grows. An alternative is an all-in-one community platform like Disco, which costs $79/month, billed annually. While this may seem steep compared to a $0/month plan, it could be more cost-effective in the long run as Disco doesn't charge transaction fees, just the monthly subscription with no hidden costs.

Managing Member Retention and Activation

This can be a daunting task. However, by providing value and appreciation through personalized experiences, gamification, and exclusive perks, community managers can foster a sense of belonging and engagement among members.

Solution: Ensure that every new member is onboarded well and that active members have unique perks to create growth loops. You can use a custom onboarding feature and discount codes by Disco. Both are easy to navigate and are highly automated and customizable for a personalized member experience.

On the other hand, aspiring community managers face a steep learning curve. Understanding the difference between social media management and community management, focusing on nurturing relationships, and gaining experience are all part of the journey for social media managers as well.

Community Manager vs. Social Media Manager: What's the Difference?

Transitioning from a social media manager to a community manager requires a shift in focus. Instead of just managing content, community ambassadors or managers need to cultivate relationships, foster a sense of community, and be authentic brand ambassadors.

While both roles operate in the digital space and involve managing online interactions, the focus of a community manager and a social media manager are distinct. A social media manager's primary responsibilities revolve around creating content, scheduling posts, analyzing engagement, and overseeing advertising initiatives. They're essentially the voice of the brand on social media, aiming to increase visibility and customer engagement.

On the other hand, a community manager's role is more focused on fostering and nurturing relationships within the brand's community. They are responsible for creating a welcoming environment that encourages interaction and engagement. They handle customer inquiries, manage conflicts, and ensure that the community aligns with the company's mission and values.

Other Essential Skills for Effective Community Management

A diverse group of community members engaging in a lively discussion

Relationship Building and Organizing Events. Effective community management is underpinned by a comprehensive community strategy that emphasizes relationship building, event organization, fostering a sense of belonging, facilitating communication, and nurturing relationships. These skills enable community managers to boost member engagement and minimize member turnover, thereby enhancing the overall community experience.

Measuring Success and ROI in Community Management. Community management success isn’t solely about the number of members; it encompasses engagement, social mentions, and trustworthy brand perception. The process starts by setting clear objectives aligned with strategic goals and understanding engagement levels.

We've made a simple analysis of a community manager's role. With this blog, learn the must-haves and nice-to-haves skills companies are looking for in community management roles.

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Wrapping Up...

Community management is complex but rewarding. It requires a diverse skill set, an understanding of technologies and platforms, and a focus on relationship building and engagement. As we move into the future, community managers will continue to play a pivotal role in fostering vibrant online communities.

Don't forget to download the free Learning Community Playbook to guide you in building, managing, and sustaining a community. Plus, you can start your 14-day free trial with Disco to execute what you have learned from the playbook.

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